California school district reaches impasse with union over its demands, including 4 child care centers

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The Sacramento City Unified School District says it has reached an “impasse” with the Service Employee International Union 1021 over the conditions of reopening schools this week.

An “impasse,” according to the district, is a “formal declaration that continued negotiations would not be productive to reach a formal agreement.”

A sanitizing station and sign encouraging social distancing sits in the main hallway during the first day of partial in-person instruction at an elementary school in California. 
(Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

The impasse came after SCUSD reached an agreement with the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) last month to begin a phased-in reopening plan for in-person classes beginning April 8.

School district officials said they’ve offered SEIU members multiple stipends related to COVID-19-related expenses, as well as an option for parents with child care issues to bring their school-age children to the school where they work, and to place their children in age-appropriate classrooms provided there was space, and it wouldn’t disrupt learning.

SEIU 1021 reportedly countered the district’s offer with a list of additional demands including more stipends for workers who couldn’t bring their children to school, and allowing employees with children ages three and under to work remotely. Another demand was for the district to establish four child care centers staffed by SEIU 1021 and SCTA employees.

Becki Belle, an SEIU 1021 member working as an office manager at Father Keith B. Kenny, an elementary school, told Fox News the ability to bring her daughter to the school site and put her in an age-appropriate classroom would be “vital.”

Belle said she understood parents’ frustrations at this proposal, given their own challenges with finding child care for their own kids during the pandemic.

“I can understand their apprehension. If they were working in an environment that might allow easier access for child care during this pandemic I would hope that they would take advantage of it,” Belle said.

She said SEIU’s impasse with the district was not about the money, but rather, simply making sure that certain protocols were in place and that its members were safe.

SCUSD officials said they were welcoming students back this coming Thursday, and the impasse declaration did not change the district’s reopening plans or dates.    

Fox News has reached out to both SCUSD seeking comment but did not hear back before publication. 

SCUSD made headlines last week after one of its teachers, speaking as a parent at a neighboring school district, called parents “White supremacists” for wanting their kids to return to the classroom.

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